Patrol cars were parked outside the nurseries in the eastern German city of Leipzig to protect against “possible dangers”.
It came after they sent a letter to parents saying: “Out of respect for a changing world, only pork-free meals and snacks will be ordered and served starting from 15 July.”
Many parents assumed they were altering it for the school’s Islamic community, even though the word “Muslim” was not used and the religion was not mentioned.
In fact, the decision had been taken because of climate change.
The letter nonetheless sparked a wave of criticism online and made headlines across the country.
The Saxony branch of chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats described the plans as a “ban on pork” and said it was unacceptable.
Beatrix von Storch, a parliamentarian with the far-right Alternative for Germany, also described it as “cultural subjugation”.
She said: “Imagine if German children in Riyadh fought for their right to currywurst [a type of German sausage] and forced the majority of society to change their diet."
The childcare centres quickly reversed their decision after the debate became heated.
“We’re overwhelmed by the whole thing,” said Wolfgang Schäfer, a director at one of them.
The plan to no longer serve children pork also covered products such as “gummy bears” that contain gelatin, which is obtained by boiling the skin, tendons, ligaments or bones of animals, often pigs.
However, Sawsan Chebli, a German politician for the centre-left Social Democrats, who is of Palestinian descent, said the measure may have been well-intentioned but did little to include Muslims.
“If kindergartens, schools and other facilities serve vegetarian instead of meat – fine with me. I am only against it, if it means: out of respect for Muslims,” she tweeted.
She added that the threats to the daycare centres showed “how dangerous it is here not only for visible Muslims themselves, but for all who publicly oppose Muslims. It shows how threatening the hatred of Islam in Germany is.”
Several parents at the nurseries said they agreed with the decision to drop pork.
One mother said the debate was absurd and that her four-year-old daughter did not notice whether food had pork in.
Germans are increasingly turning away from pork products. Total pork consumption in the country is reported to have dropped 10 per cent since 2011, according to Euromonitor International.
A vegan school was set up in Sweden this summer. Hagaskolan, for pupils aged six to 15, serves only plant-based food and teaches children about the environment, ethics, and health.
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